I am in receipt of a copy of Georgia’s Senate Bill 12, which I have read in its entirety. The bill’s intent is to serialize each and every bullet and casing that is used in handguns that are concealable. Many states are looking at laws similar to this but my commentary here is specific to the bill introduced by Georgia’s very own State Senator, Ronald Ramsey(D) of Dekalb and Rockdale Counties. I have already forwarded letters to my own State Senator, Cecil Staten(R) and Legislator, Tony Sellier(R.) There is much to digest in this type of backdoor registration of firearms, and the following is to the best of my ability, the exercision of superhuman restraint in presenting what I think is the most unemotional and practical aspects of my feelings on such legislation.
As a lawful gun owner and Georgia Firearm License holder I am vigilant in maintaining my compliance with the law as it relates to the lawful use and ownership of firearms and ammunition. I see this proposed bill as an unnecessary imposition on lawful Georgia gun owners and see little if any benefit to law enforcement and the apprehension of criminals and the criminal use of firearms.
I’m sure that lawful gun owners will begrudgeonly comply with such a law if enacted, but the law is a lopsided and unreimbursed burden on lawful citizens who are the most unlikely to contribute to the perceived problem that this legislation is targeted to solve. What is created is the real possibility of making an unwitting criminal out of the bedrock of Georgian society due to the fact that the very possession of an unserialized cartridge places the thousands of permitted concealed weapon licensees at jeopardy of a criminal record with a gun law violation, an infraction that would remove a cherished privilege for a lifetime.
The criminals that are associated with most gun-related deaths are unlikely to be qualified to openly and lawfully purchase guns. Furthermore, if their weapons were by default unlawful, logic would dictate that they would be unconcerned with the “I” dotting and the “T” crossing required by such a law as Senate Bill 12. Career criminals are unlikely to use a weapon directly traceable to them, and it could not be expected that such a person would purchase a serialized cartridge with the correct identity. As most throwaway weapons are stolen and untraceable to the offender, such a requirement of ammunition could hardly be expected to turn up anyone but the unwitting accomplices, lawful gun owners that themselves were the victim of theft or robbery. Knowledge of the original purchaser would contribute nothing to solving the specific case, only place a burden of record keeping on the lawful purchaser of ammunition and the involvement of law enforcement in the disposition if even known, of such ammo if stolen and place the dead end of the investigation one step further from the culprit.
Any possibility of positive effect for the citizens of Georgia will be far outweighed by the burdens of accounting and cost of replacement of handgun ammunition which is historically purchased in quantities that take into account the extended shelf life a of product of this type. An investment that can easily amount to hundreds of dollars per gun owner if one owns many different weapons.
Additionally, like most gun control legislation, the likely perpetrator of crimes that this law is altruistically meant to deter or apprehend is hindered the least by the existence of such identification, both in foiling the accountability or in the total disregard of even the existence of such markings on the ammo in their possession. As ammunition that was manufactured during WWII is routinely used today, the effective eradication of uncoded rounds could not be realized for 50 years or more.
It is my opinion that whatever the intentions are that prompted the conception of Senate Bill 12, or the perceived benefits of this type of law, the effect is to burden the lawful and conscientious gun owners of this state and place upon them the punitive expense and effort of compliance to an exercise that may prove only to be a prelude to outright bookkeeping of every round purchased and fired and a personal accounting of every undischarged round as it would be as unique as a fingerprint and ultimately traceable to the lawful purchaser, who as such, would be a criminal suspect until other evidence if existing, exonerated him. Not a farfetched assumption as a stolen automobile or weapon currently leads law enforcement to such conclusions. Furthermore, this bill carried to its logically fully developed state would eventually place the accountability of every bullet and cartridge casing on the shooter, as a criminal could cast unwanted attention away from themselves and on any other individual by simply gathering spent cartridges from a shooting range and depositing them at a crime scene.
This is bad law. This is the accelerated continuation of an effort to criminalize the rights acknowledged in the 2nd Amendment by smothering an otherwise lawful citizen with the unnecessary and cumbersome responsibilities of compliance so great that the individual can no longer manage or tolerate the effort. This law’s ultimate form will be to stifle the joy of sport shooting and diminish if not entirely extinguish the lawful individual’s capacity to defend one’s self. It is easy to envision a stair step of evolution of this type of law to eventually include long guns, antique collections, primitive arms and even .22 caliber ammunition that are popularly used in training guns for youth. If .22 ammo is considered pistol ammo and included in this law, the cost of its cartridges could easily triple and diminish the usefulness of the wide variety of rimfire weapons sharing that cartridge and enjoyed by families for generations. All the while, the criminal is as always, non-compliant and the law does nothing to curtail the crime that it is proposed to deter.
To read Georgia Senate Bill 12, click here.
To contact Georgia State Senator Ramsey, click here,
To contact your Georgia State Senator, click here